Online Graduate Certificate Program in Plastics Engineering Fundamentals

The Graduate Certificate in Plastics Engineering Fundamentals is designed to provide engineering professionals - such as mechanical engineers involved in man on laptop the manufacturing or design of plastic parts - with the plastics background they generally do not receive as part of their undergraduate education. This four-course online certificate program provides students with the fundamental concepts associated with plastics materials, processing and design.

All of the courses in this certificate program may be applied towards any of the graduate degree programs offered through UMass Lowell's Department of Plastics Engineering.

Available entirely online!

Intended Audience

The Plastics Engineering Fundamentals Graduate Certificate is open to students that have earned a B.S. Degree in science or engineering. This certificate program is particularly popular amongst engineers involved in manufacturing and those interested in pursuing graduate studies in Plastics Engineering.

Recommended Prerequisite Knowledge

Engineering or Science Bachelor's Degree, plus general chemistry and mathematics.

Sahana picture "UMass Lowell's part-time Graduate Certificate in Plastics Engineering was a convenient way for me to gain the experience I sought because it was available entirely online. My professors were so helpful and responsive, and everything I needed was online  from the library to live chat sessions. The Certificate Program was so convenient and flexible I was able to complete the program in one year."   -  Sahana Nanjappa

Program Outline

Total Courses: 4; Total Graduate Credits: 12

Required Courses (2):

  1. PLAS.5440 Advanced Plastics Materials
  2. PLAS.5780 Advanced Plastics Processing

Elective Courses (Choose 2):

  1. PLAS.5030 Mechanical Behavior of Polymers
  2. PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure Properties & Applications
  3. PLAS.5180 Plastics Product Design - Available Summer 2017!
  4. PLAS.5760 Advanced Mold Design
  5. PLAS.6060 Plastics Manufacturing Systems Engineering

For questions regarding your application status, contact the Graduate School at (800) 656-GRAD.

Credit Transfer Policy

Students enrolled in the Plastics Engineering Fundamentals Certificate Program may transfer one 3-credit graduate course, grade of B or better, taken from an accredited U.S. or Canadian university provided the graduate course content from the other university is substantially equivalent to the certificate course for which it would be substituted. Decisions regarding course equivalency will be made collectively by the Plastics Engineering Department Graduate Coordinators.

Contact Us

For specific questions regarding these plastics courses and the plastics certificate program, email

Get a Head Start! Apply the Courses in this Certificate Towards a Master's Degree in Plastics Engineering

Students, especially international or out of state students, can take these online courses while living in their home country or state, leading to significant cost savings by reducing on campus living expenses. For example, most full-time, on campus students take 18 or more months to complete their M.S. in Plastics Engineering. A student taking four online courses could complete their M.S. degree requirements by spending only about twelve months at Lowell, since they would be able to transfer 12 credits from their online graduate certificate into the Master's Degree in Plastics Engineering. Also, the Plastics Engineering Department will waive the GRE requirement if you complete the certificate with a GPA of 3.5 or better.

Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

Completion rates, median loan debts and program costs are outlined for each certificate program.

Graduate Certificate Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

    Course Descriptions

    PLAS.5030 Mechanical Behavior of Polymers

    Topics covered in this course include linear viscoelasticity, creep, stress relaxation, dynamic behavior, hysteresis, stress-strain response phenomena, principles of time-temperature superposition, rubber elasticity, failure and fracture mechanisms for polymers, and the effect of additives on mechanical behavior. Real life design examples are used to demonstrate the topics and concepts as much as possible. 3 credits. Prerequisite: MECH.2110, MECH.2150, MATH.2340, MA

    PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure Properties & Applications

    Relationships between polymer structure (chemical composition, molecular weight and flexibility, intermolecular order and bonding, supermolecular structure) and practical properties (processability, mechanical, acoustic, thermal, electrical, optical, and chemical) and applications. 3 credits. Prerequisite: 26.202 pre-re or Grad Career.

    PLAS.5180 Plastics Product Design

    This course reviews the theoretical principles and the engineering practice associated with the development of new plastic products. The course focuses on design practices for products that will be produced by conventional and advanced injection molding processes. Topics include design methodology, plastic materials selection, design for manufacturing, computer aided engineering, mechanical behavior of plastics, structural design of plastic parts, prototyping techniques, experimental stress analysis, and assembly techniques for plastic parts. 3 credits. Prerequisite: 26.211 Engineering Mechanics, 26.218 Introduction to Design or Graduate career students. (Pre-requisites are enforced only for undergraduate plastics engineering students).

    PLAS.5440 Advanced Plastics Materials

    This course reviews the historical developments of polymeric material systems, commodity, engineering, biodegradable, and high performance thermoplastics. Topics include their synthesis, structure, properties, and applications and there is also an overview of typical additives that are used to modify the properties of plastics. Knowledge of general and/or organic chemistry is recommended as a prerequisite for this course. . 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    PLAS.5760 Advanced Mold Design

    This course provides an integrated approach to mold engineering which includes the interrelationships of polymeric materials, engineering principles, processing, and plastics product design. Major topics include cost estimation, mold layout and feed system design, cooling systems, structural design considerations, and ejector system design. Analytical treatment of the subject matter is given based on the relevant rheology, thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow and strength of materials. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    PLAS.5780 Advanced Plastics Processing

    This course reviews the common plastics manufacturing processes, including extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming, and rotational molding. After the review, the course focus shifts to the impacts of screw design and processing parameters on the conveyance, melting, devolatilization, and mixing with single screws and compounding with twin screw extruders. This course also includes an overview of die designs, multi-shot and gas assist injection molding, film stretching and methods for heating and cooling in plastics processing. 3 credits.

    PLAS.6060 Plastics Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    The course provides guidance about plastics manufacturing as an integrated system with broadly applicable analysis in three areas: 1) machinery, 2) controls, and 3) operations. The machinery topics include heating/cooling, hydraulics/pneumatics, electric drives, and sensors. The controls topics include signal conditioning, data acquisition, machine controllers, and related control laws. The operations topics include process characterization, process optimization, quality control, and automation. The course is developed to support plastics processing engineers and others involved with plastics manufacturing who are performing process development, research, and machine design. 3 credits.

    Intensive Training in Plastics Manufacturing

    UMass Lowell also offers a variety intensive noncredit training seminars in the latest plastics manufacturing processes. These one- to four-day seminars are held in the University's state-of-the-art facilities throughout the year, but many of them can also be offered onsite at your company. Visit for additional information!

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Apply Into the Program

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For further details visit UMass Lowell's Graduate Admissions.

Register for Courses

Approximately 2 months prior to the start of each semester, Online and Continuing Education posts the new course schedule to the website. Once you've decided which course(s) you would like to take, returning students can register using SIS self-service, while new students must use the Non Degree Registration Form.
Note: If you previously completed an academic program through UMass Lowell
but haven't already applied and been accepted into this program, please use the Non Degree Registration Form to register.

Questions? Contact Us!

Email our Student Support Center for assistance, or call for advising at (800) 480-3190 and press 1 to speak with an advisor. See links at the bottom of this page for technical assistance with your online course.

Certificate Completion

Once you have completed all courses in a graduate certificate program, please complete and submit via mail or fax the Graduate Certificate Clearance Form to the Registrar's Office.

The Benefits of Learning Online with UMass Lowell

The University has built a solid reputation by offering one of the largest selections of online programs available through a traditional university. Courses are taught by full-time faculty who are experts in their fields, and by adjunct faculty who, as practicing professionals, bring real-world experience to the online class discussions.

At UMass Lowell, we are committed to providing you with high-quality, affordable online programs that make earning your degree or certificate more convenient than ever before. Our students have access to online course technical support 24X7, and our academic advisors and program coordinators are happy to help you with your questions.